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River Island to cut 350 senior sales staff and managers as it struggles amid pandemic

River Island to cut 350 senior sales staff and managers as it struggles amid pandemic


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River Island is to cut 350 management and senior sales roles as it attempts to slash costs in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown and a shift to online shopping.

The high street fashion retailer laid out a major shake-up of its store management just a month after it announced 250 head office jobs would go.

In a letter to staff, bosses called the pandemic “one of the most significant challenges that River Island has ever faced”.

The lockdown hit River Island’s sales and profits, which have only begun to recover slowly since sites began to re-open in mid-June.

River Island has about 300 shops across the UK and has reportedly explored entering an insolvency process known as a company voluntary arrangement which could allow it to reduce rents and other costs.

According to the Retail Gazette, some stores could close as part of those plans.

The latest round of redundancies is set to happen next month after a consultation with staff.

Chief executive Will Kernan told staff in an internal memo that the changes will create a “flatter management structure with a greater emphasis on customer service”.

He said: “We need to make sure we have the right structures in place to deliver our omnichannel strategy, and to continue to deliver the amazing River Island in-store experience that our customers know and love.

“With a heavy heart, I can confirm that these changes will potentially impact up to 350 store management and senior sales roles.

“Whilst this is an incredibly difficult decision, these actions are crucial to ensure that our stores continue to effectively play their hugely important role in our omnichannel future.”

River Island is the latest in a string of high street names to announce redundancies since the pandemic began. Debenhams, John Lewis, Dixons Carphone and Pizza Express have all cut jobs in recent weeks.


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